From : awenalmeshagbah@yahoo.com
Sent : Saturday, June 4, 2005 2:05 PM
To : arabtimesnewspaper@hotmail.com
Subject : Why Dr. Abadi Should be Applauded

Why Dr. Abadi Should be Applauded

Dear Dr. Fawzi:

I read with great dismay the “Jordanian Sweelem” article that was recently published in your paper. Most specifically, I was very disappointed that the author seemed more interested in discrediting Dr. Abadi, and in so doing, belittling the men and women of Jordan who hold similar views as Dr. Abadi and come from a similar background.

This despicable article about the people of Jordan was a vicious piece filled with bigotry that maligns not only Dr. Abadi but his fellow countrymen and women who share his views and concerns. I am surely not alone in my views that the article was offensive and disgraceful. I expect you will hear from other readers of your newspaper a denunciation of this author and his mean-spiritedness. The article is almost undeserving of being dignified by any response, and I believe, is so one-sided as to fall far short of any semblance of civilized discourse.

The author failed to acknowledge that the views expressed by Dr. Abadi are prevalent throughout the Jordanian East Bank society. Dr. Abadi is entitled to express his views in any way or fashion and I am proud that he did. Furthermore, the author failed to acknowledge that Dr. Abadi was very critical of the King’s very close circles irrespective of their birth and origin.

Dr. Abadi clearly presented some positive aspects about the regime in Jordan, he also included a critique of the King and his hiring practices. As such, Dr. Abadi stated that he, like many other Jordanians, believes that the King must not allow a few to control the assets and the decision-making processes of the country. This, if it continues, will lead to potentially disastrous outcomes for the regime and its beneficiaries. Dr. Abadi courageously expressed the views and the opinions that many Jordanians share.

For Jordan to move forward on the path of development and advancement, all Jordanians should take part in the process. Thus, entrusting a few elitists during this challenging time is not only insulting to the majority of citizens, but also unwise. Regrettably, the few elitists that were mentioned in Dr. Abadi’s letter do not have the divine right to inherit the political and economic processes in Jordan. I do agree with Dr. Abadi that some of the names that he listed in his letter do not have an understanding of the Jordanian communities in Maan, Al-Salat, Al-Karak, Al-Mafraq, and Madaba. Jordanians from all walks of life complain about the lack of economic participation. So, Dr. Abadi’s open letter to the King was a step in the right direction and should be applauded.

As for the “Economic Team” that has been criticized by many Jordanians, I do agree that some of those individuals have lived in Jordan for a short period of time and hence contributed little to its development.

Having a job with Citibank does not for example qualify Ms. Suhair Al-Ali to be a head of an important government ministry. Suhair Al-Ali can easily be replaced by a qualified economist or public policy figure with the proven qualifications and expertise to carry out the job in an effective and efficient manner. It appears to me that there is a concerted effort to overlook Jordanians’ talents and potential contribution to the economic management of their country.

Furthermore, “the economic team” had already been given the opportunity and failed in improving the standard of living for Jordanians. Bassem Awadallah was very arbitrary in the way he oversaw the allocation of the country’s limited resources. He should not be allowed to mismanage another government department as he did with the Planning. So, I am as outraged about his appointment as Dr. Abadi is.

As Dr. Abadi suggested, there are many Jordanians who are capable of taking part in the leadership of their country and thus their destiny. As such, it is imperative that they should be given the chance to do so instead of exclusively granting these very important employment opportunities to elitists. This practice must stop.

Over the years, I have met many Jordanians who hold senior executive positions in the public and private sectors in the United States and Canada who would love to be part of the process to modernize their beloved country (Jordan). Unfortunately, most of the senior executive jobs in Jordan are reserved to “certain” individuals who belong to “certain” families, such as Rafai, Badran, Masri, Muasher Kawar etc etc. This practice must also stop.

Furthermore, it is my opinion, that Jordanians feel that the gap between Jordan's haves and have nots has grown wider in recent years. Therefore, it was prudent for Dr. Abadi to remind the King to allow Jordanians to be involved in the decision-making process so their country can utilize their talents and thus benefit from the fruit of its achievements.

Additionally, Jordanians should be gravely concerned by the Palestinian settlement issues in their country. Jordan is a very small country with limited resources. It has paid more than its fair share in the Arab world’s failures over the years in addressing the Palestinian “problem.” It is unfair that a country like Jordan should be asked to pay such a heavy price for people who have been treated unjustly throughout our modern history. So, when Mr. Badran brought an unprecedented number of Jordanians of Palestinian origin into his government, while ignoring representatives from major regions in Jordan, it was perfectly natural for Jordanians to question Dr. Badran and others who have made similar decisions. For instance, Mr. Badran and the King neglected not only the country's southern regions in these appointments but also a place like my parents’ hometown, Al-Mafraq, as well. As of today, 12 of the 26-member government are Palestinians. Perhaps the time has come for all of us to ask on what basis these appointments were made?

Finally, I disagree with Dr. Abadi’s position on Jordan’s political and economic ties with the West. It is important that Jordan continue to maintain its traditional support for U.S. policies in the region. Therefore, I call upon all Jordanian East Bankers to establish and maintain strong relationships with U.S. Government representatives inside Jordan and outside so when the time comes a new leadership can emerge to substitute for what we have now. There is a prevailing sentiment in Jordan and outside, which the King and his men have nurtured, that Jordanians are better off left to manage the Army and failing bureaucracy thus leaving other important sectors to non-Jordanians. This patronizing and short-sighted attitude must stop too.

So, I am glad that Dr. Abadi expressed his views and opened a dialogue of constructive criticism. It is my hope that his letter will encourage other Jordanians to come forward and express their opinions as well.

Regards,

Awen Rashed Al-Meshagbah, PhD
Boston, Massachusetts